Giving Grove at Work

Giving Grove at Work
Old Ferguson West Community Garden orchard installation with Giving Grove, Fall 2017.

At Gateway Greening we believe St. Louis is only as strong as its communities. Our vision is a region where people are connected to the land, to their food, and to each other in deeply rooted, resilient urban communities. Since 1984, Gateway Greening has supported food-producing community projects. However, community groups want to grow more than just vegetables, they want to expand their projects to grow fruit and nut crops. In 2017, Gateway Greening partnered with the Giving Grove of Kansas City, MO to bring their community orchard program to St. Louis. This program will allow us to assist community groups in growing a broad diversity of fruit and nut crops that are naturally disease resistant, using a holistic management program that the Kansas City Giving Grove has been using successfully for five years.


As of fall 2017, the Giving Grove in Kansas City has provided over 2,000 fruit and nut bearing plants across Kansas City, and we hope to plant many more here in St. Louis in the years to come. Rob Reiman, the Giving Grove’s Executive Director said, “We are beyond thrilled to be able to collaborate with Gateway Greening to help bring sustainable orchards to more food insecure communities in the St. Louis area.” Small community orchards have incredible potential to produce fresh produce for many St. Louis communities. An average Giving Grove orchard in Kansas City contains 15 trees and is capable of producing over 3,500 pounds of produce each year once the plants reach maturity.


Giving Grove
Gateway elementary students hard at work moving compost and fresh soil for the new Giving Grove orchard installed at their school.

To date, Giving Grove orchards in St. Louis have been installed at Old Ferguson West Community Garden, Stix ECC Early Childhood Center, Gateway Elementary School, Gateway Michael Elementary School, Central Reform Congregation Community Garden, and Florissant Community Garden.


Who is eligible for a Giving Grove?

Over the years, we have found that community groups who complete our garden development process create long-lasting, supported, community spaces. We believe that new orchards will be similarly sustainable and locally beneficial if they are community-led projects.

Gateway Greening Network gardens will be able to request Giving Grove orchard plants and materials through the newly created Orchard Expansion Application in May and October. Non-network community groups will be asked to complete our development process. This process assists community groups in identifying local resources, engaging community members, and creating long-term management plans. Once completed, the orchard project will be considered “in-network” and eligible for all of the same benefits as community gardens, in addition to the tools and materials specific to orchards.


What is the Cost of an Orchard?

There is a one-time cost for materials when installing a Giving Grove, however, in order to make orcharding accessible for everyone in St. Louis, we are offering scholarships that will reduce the cost of installation by 50% or 90%.

For the one time cost, community groups will receive: the plant, support stakes or poles, soil amendments during planting, additional soil, burlap, wood chip mulch, and tree wraps. The per plant costs vary from $5-$50 depending on the size and type of plat installed.


Learning to Care for a Giving Grove Orchard

Proper care and maintenance is important for the long-term health and productivity for any orchard. Gateway Greening will be offering ongoing, free education for anyone who wishes to learn more about orchard care. Please visit our events calendar to learn more about upcoming orchard classes.


Start an Orchard with Gateway Greening

Please visit the Giving Grove page on our website or contact Community Projects Manager Dean Gunderson at [email protected] or at 314-588-9600 x108 to learn more.


Giving Grove at Work.
Giving Grove installation at Florissant Community Garden with garden members and volunteers from The Burning Kumquat (Washington University) and Gateway Greening.


Community Orchard Program Feeds Families  

ST. LOUIS, MO. –  Beginning this fall, Gateway Greening will partner with The Giving Grove to plant sustainable community orchards in St. Louis. A Giving Grove orchard with an average of 15 trees is capable of producing over 3,500 pounds of produce each year providing food insecure families fresh, organic fruit and nuts for 25 plus years.

Since 2013, The Giving Grove pilot program in Kansas City has planted 135 community orchards which are already producing fruit. The total production potential of these orchards is over 500,000 pounds per year, or 13 million pounds during the trees’ lifetime. The St. Louis program is expected to meet (or exceed) these yields in just 5 years.

“Our partnership with Kansas City Community Gardens has made it possible to grow this idea from a seed to an urban landscape with more than two thousand trees starting to bear fruit across our city,” said Rob Reiman, The Giving Grove’s Executive Director. “We are beyond thrilled to be able to collaborate with Gateway Greening to help bring sustainable orchards to more food insecure communities in the St. Louis area.”

The Giving Grove’s founders, including Tortoise Capital Advisors CEO and Board Chair Kevin Birzer, launched this innovative program in 2013 by working in tandem with an established Kansas City-based community gardening organization, Kansas City Community Gardens (KCCG). Birzer commented, “An important element of launching the replication strategy was identifying a well-run business with a similar model and a proven track record of successfully serving low-income families by growing healthy food. Gateway Greening represents the quintessential characteristics of that intent.”

As the program expands, Reiman anticipates the impact of this initiative to increase food security and resilience for urban communities across America. Currently, more than 42 million individuals experience food insecurity across the 50 states, skipping meals so that their children can eat and unsure how they will get enough food to feed their families.

Gateway Greening’s Dean Gunderson will lead the local St. Louis Giving Grove program, leveraging the existing resources of their community garden organization.  Gateway Greening Executive Director, Matt Schindler commented, “St. Louis is missing this important piece of education and service around fruit and nut trees.  By bringing The Giving Grove program to St. Louis, we are bringing Kansas City’s experience to our program, enabling us to meet the needs of various communities with greater organizational knowledge and capacity.”

This coming Saturday, October 14, Giving Grove St. Louis will have its first class for orchards at 10 AM at the Gateway Greening office at 2211 Washington Ave.  Then in the afternoon on Saturday at 2 PM, Giving Grove St. Louis will have its first orchard installation at Old Ferguson West Community Garden, located at 485 Mueller Ave, Ferguson, MO 63135.


About Our Partners

Gateway Greening,, educates and empowers people to strengthen their communities through gardening and urban agriculture. Led by Executive Director Matt Schindler, the organization supports over 200 community gardens and food projects as well as 70 school gardens in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area, and operates the 2.5-acre Gateway Greening Urban Farm in downtown St. Louis.

Kansas City Community Gardens,, began nearly 40 years ago as a program of Metro Lutheran Ministries, becoming an independent nonprofit in 1985. Ben Sharda, KCCG’s Executive Director since 1989, has grown the organization to include a network of 265 Community Partner Gardens and more than 220 Schoolyard Gardens across Kansas City while educating thousands of youth each year through the Leanna Flandermeyer Beanstalk Children’s Garden.


About The Giving Grove

The Giving Grove,, began as a program of KCCG in 2013 and is now establishing a new national organization to help launch and support Giving Grove community orchards across the Midwest. Giving Grove staff train and support community leaders to care for urban micro-orchards, using the environmentally responsible methods.

The Giving Grove was recently named as the Greater Kansas City LISC’s 2017 Thrive Award winner for Innovative Program and was recognized as a Sustainability Success Story by Mid-America Regional Council in 2014. The Giving Grove’s Kansas City program recently received an Environmental Justice grant award from the Environmental Protection Agency to help communities in Kansas City, Missouri’s urban core adapt to climate change by planting Giving Grove orchards.


Members of Old Ferguson West Community Garden, Gateway Greening, and The Giving Grove installing the first orchard as part of Gateway Greening & The Giving Grove’s new partnership. Oct 2017.